Last night, I was honored to be hosted at a gathering of moderates and conservatives by James and Jenica Humphreys. A Democratic candidate meeting with Republican-minded voters is something that KSL Radio considers newsworthy in Utah. In this radio piece, the Hatch campaign responded by saying, “Ashdown is just custom tailoring his message to his audience instead of taking a stand.”
This attitude from Senator Hatch is not surprising. Ted Kennedy is trotted out repeatedly as an example of “working across the aisle,” but Senator Hatch repeatedly demonizes Democrats for all of society’s ills. During a recent interview on KCPW, he claimed that it was liberals who came up with the “derogatory term”, “nuclear option” in reference to blocking Democratic filibusters in congress. According to the Wikipedia article on the subject it was Trent Lott who first came up with the term, although I liked their first choice better, “Hulk.”
Taking a stand is not exclusive of building consensus. The forum last night was one of the most productive campaign meetings I’ve been to. There was a minimum of rhetoric and a focus on problem solving. Roughly twenty people had taken their Saturday evening off to hear what I had to say and express their views to me. There was rarely a subject that everyone agreed upon, although the sad state of health insurance in this country was prominent. What impressed me about this group is that they were passionate about making America a better place to live. I believe most Americans are, regardless of party affiliation.
James joked with me after the meeting that the “Scarlett D” is what keeps conservatives in Utah from listening to anyone from the “other side”. Conservative bloggers in Utah have been agonizing over whether they can stomach voting for a Democrat since Urquhart left the race. Understandably, it is hard for anyone to put trust in a politician. Since I have never run before, you can judge me on what I have done with my business. I was honored that the most conservative guy in the room last night, Vince, wanted to get his picture taken with me because he admired how I run XMission. I have had many opportunities to sell XMission for considerable amounts, but I haven’t because I knew it would have been bad for my employees and worse for my customers. Why would I sell out my constituency for anything less?
What I have been advocating in this campaign is openess and transparency in government, along with open access for interested parties to give their input on subjects that concern them. Today’s Salt Lake Tribune has an editorial by BYU philosophy professor Jeffrey Nielsen about just this. Thomas Jefferson endorsed the idea of “peer councils” and it is only now through the use of the Internet we truly have the ability to put this into action.
Good solutions are non-partisan, they simply solve the problem. I believe the best way to fix America’s problems is for everyone to work on them rather than promoting partisan ideologies.